Rochester, Minnesota




The research interests of Sylvie Girard, Ph.D., focus on the immune contribution to pregnancy complications, as well as the negative impact on the placenta and maternal and infant health. Dr. Girard is particularly interested in the diagnostic potential of inflammatory markers for early detection of women at high risk of pregnancy complications, such as preterm birth and preeclampsia. She is also working on the identification and development of novel therapeutic strategies targeting the immune system to protect the placenta and neonate against long-term developmental disorders.

Focus areas

  • Maternal immune alteration in preeclampsia and predisposition to cardiovascular diseases. Dr. Girard studies how preeclampsia alters the maternal immune system, the persistence of such change after delivery and contribution to the long-term elevated risk of cardiovascular diseases in these women. Furthermore, Dr. Girard also investigates the contribution of immune cells to endothelial activation and hypertension using preclinical and in vitro models.
  • The placenta as a tool to identify high-risk infants after preterm delivery. The placenta reflects what the infant has been exposed to during pregnancy, shaping the rest of the infant's life. Dr. Girard and her team are performing in-depth analysis of placental function and inflammation to allow early identification of infants at high risk of developmental disorders that are often diagnosed too late (when therapeutic intervention is no longer possible).
  • Targeting perinatal inflammation to protect the placenta and infant. Using both preclinical and in vitro models, Dr. Girard and her collaborators have been investigating several mediators of inflammation found to be elevated in the maternal circulation and placentas of complicated pregnancies, to understand the mechanisms of inflammation's negative impact on pregnancy.

Significance to patient care

There are very limited therapeutic possibilities available for pregnancy complications, despite the substantial short- and long-term health impacts for both mother and child. The overarching goal of Dr. Girard's research is to understand the detrimental effects that inflammation and immune dysregulation during pregnancy have on placental function that lead to adverse health outcomes. This will allow for novel target identification and therapeutic strategy development, ultimately protecting both the mother and infant during pregnancy and postpartum.

Professional highlights

  • Associate editor, Journal of Immunology, 2020-present
  • Council member, American Society for Reproductive Immunology (ASRI), 2019-present
  • Braverman Award, American Society for Reproductive Immunology (ASRI), 2019


Administrative Appointment

  1. Senior Associate Consultant I-Research, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology
  2. Senior Associate Consultant I-Research, Department of Immunology
  3. Chair, Division of Research, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology

Academic Rank

  1. Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology


  1. Visiting Scientist - Behavioral Neuroscience Canadian Centre for Behavioural Neuroscience
  2. PhD - Immunology - neuroscience Universite de Sherbrooke
  3. MSc - Immunology - Neuroscience Universite de Sherbrooke
  4. BSc - Pharmacology Universite de Sherbrooke

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